Sunday, February 16, 2014

Untitled, NE 9th & Halsey

Lately this humble blog has spent a surprising amount of time hanging out at inner NE Portland's Lloyd Center Mall. Not for the shopping, and not for the food court, but because I've been doing this silly public art project lately, and the Smithsonian's art database has half a dozen entries right around the mall. I've already covered five of them, so I figured I might as well track down the sixth and complete the set. At the northwest corner of the mall, on the side of a multistory parking garage, is a large painted aluminum screen with a picture of a floral-print handbag. The database says this is Untitled, by Elizabeth Mapelli, circa 1991 (i.e. it went in as part of the mall's big remodel that year). The database entry is pretty terse so initially I wasn't sure what to look for, but a PDC "Wayfinding and Public Art Handbook" for the area includes a small photo, and it wasn't hard to figure out from there. The photo must be fairly old, given the lack of trees in front of the garage, and the junky early 1980s car in the foreground.

Today's inevitable end-of-post tangent: Apparently the artist once owned a vintage Pullman railcar, converted into a residential private railroad car and parked on a rail siding near OMSI. She put it up for sale in 2012, after realizing the spent much of her time traveling outside the country & wasn't really using the railcar. A fun 2011 Washington Post article peeks at the world of private railcars; it seems like the sort of hobby one gets into if one has money to burn, but yachting is too mainstream, and one cannot quite afford a private zeppelin. Monocle optional.

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